As Hurricane Florence approaches, families brace for impact and volunteers prepare to help

As Hurricane Florence approaches, families brace for impact and volunteers prepare to help
Updated: Sep. 11, 2018 at 11:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The worst fears for many on the roads tonight may play out as they head away from Hurricane Florence into other parts of the Southeast - devastation beyond measure.

As was the case with helping families escaping Hurricane Irma in 2017,  local government at the Red Cross are on standby to welcome guests and help communities ravaged by natural disasters.

"It brings tears to my eyes that you're gonna have to relive this all over again."

Solemn words from one North Carolina man, as millions seek refuge before Florence makes landfall.

The Red Cross and its volunteers in Georgia and Alabama said they are ready to mobilize resources to provide disaster relief in the aftermath of the storm.

Communications specialist Ronnika McFall said the Red Cross has more than 700 disaster workers en route to the Carolinas, as well as vehicles and medical supplies.

Some made the decision to stay in their communities, like Anne Ryan of Wilmington, North Carolina.

"I'll do what's necessary because I haven't done it before, so that's the bottom line. My gut says go for it."

Others, like John Van Schoor, said he does not want to take that risk.

"If I've got the opportunity to go somewhere, I'll go somewhere," he said. "For the people who are out there, if you can get a ride out of the area, get out of the area. Why risk it? That's what I feel."

Also working with the Red Cross, the City of Columbus' Emergency Management Agency said the department is on standby to see how many evacuees come to Muscogee County, and which spaces will serve as shelters, much like when families came to escape Hurricane Irma.

Looking at other groups ready to help across Columbus and the Valley, PAWS Humane said it is ready to help, but still working on finalizing whether it will take in any shelter animals before or after the storm.

At the same time, Fort Benning officials said they're ready to mobilize if needed, and will wait to see what happens in the aftermath of Florence.

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